Thursday, February 4, 2016

Inlander Restaurant Week 2016 menus are live!

Posted By on Thu, Feb 4, 2016 at 8:02 AM

Shrimp and scallop gnocci is on the IRW menu at Scratch. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Shrimp and scallop gnocci is on the IRW menu at Scratch.

The table is set and open for reservations.

As of today, all of the three-course menus featured at Inlander Restaurant Week's 104 participating restaurants — the fourth-annual culinary event is set for Feb. 26 through March 6 — are now live online.

From fresh sushi in Coeur d'Alene to Italian fare in Browne's Addition, Restaurant Week offers flavors to suit any taste, occasion and budget. The online menu database allows users to browse alphabetically, or search by price (the fixed-price menu options are $19 or $29 per person), cuisine style and location. While you're browsing, look for the Drink Local symbols noted on each menu, indicating the variety of locally made spirits, beer, cider, wine and coffee offered at many of the IRW eateries.

There are still several weeks before the event kicks off, but start thinking now about when, where and what other special events you might want to tie in with your restaurant experience. Weekend dining during Restaurant Week is especially likely to be busy, so calling ahead to save your place at the table (on any night) is not a bad idea. After all, you don't want to miss out on sampling the menus at the top of your IRW 2016 "bucket list." 

Also, don't forget to grab the Feb. 25 issue of the Inlander, which includes a comprehensive guide to Restaurant Week 2016 — as well as printed versions of the menus — including interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, a list of all places new to IRW, and menu highlights that intrigued us.

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Spokane's Top Chef contestant Chad White is eliminated

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 11:39 AM


Local boy Chad White has been blazing through Bravo's Top Chef, earning a spot in the top 10. Last night, however, his run ended when judges took exception with the daintiness of his dish — micro greens on seared tuna — for what was supposed to be a gluttonous beefsteak event where food is consumed in large quantities without utensils. See his offending dish below.

As regular Top Chef viewers know, his exit brought him to the Last Chance Kitchen, where he went head to head with a previously eliminated contestant for chance at winning a place back in the competition. As luck would have it, White would face another Washingtonian: Seattle's Jason Stratton. Watch them battle it out below.

It doesn't go White's way, but fear not: White, who owns restaurants in San Diego and Tijuana, is back in Spokane and is looking to start his latest venture: Native Post and Provisions, featuring the flavors of the Inland Northwest. In the meantime, he's teaming up with local chefs for special one-off events, including next week's sold-out dinner at Ruins in Spokane.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

No-Li launches new LocALE beer, LocALE neighborhoods iniative

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 4:01 PM


Three cheers for local beer, food and community!

This year, Spokane's internationally-recognized No-Li Brewhouse is kicking off a new event that features various neighborhoods in Spokane, one each month for the remainder of 2016.

Every Monday throughout the month, LocALE at No-Li highlights a Spokane neighborhood through its staff donating and volunteering their time within the 'hood, as well as selling collectible, branded pint glasses unique to each neighborhood.

For years, No-Li has consistently worked with community businesses and nonprofits to raise awareness of their missions, and to donate time and money to various causes in the region. Previously partnering with organizations such as SpokAnimal and Toys for Tots, No-Li created LocALE to further integrate the "community fabric" into its work.

"The Spokane community is a fabric of local neighborhoods that add character and a sense of being real and grounded," No-Li owner John Bryant says in a press release. "We look forward to celebrating the individuality and specialness of our community, one Spokane neighborhood at a time."

LocALE is scheduled to kick off at the brewery (1003 E. Trent Ave) on Feb. 1, from 5-8 pm, during which they'll release the first of the 11 collectible neighborhood pint glasses.

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Several one-time, local chef dinners are coming up — make reservations soon

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 1:00 PM

We're obviously super excited about the fourth annual Inlander Restaurant Week coming up in exactly a month — happening for 10 days from Feb. 26 through March 6 — but there are many special culinary events to look forward to in the meantime. (Also, don't forget that Restaurant Week menus are being released online next week, on Thursday, Feb. 4).

Special one-time and occasional chef dinners aren't a new trend, but of late we've definitely noticed more of these intimate events happening across the region. Since most have limited seating and feature a special menu offered that night only, making reservations is required. This means knowing about an event ahead of time is important, as many sell out early.

Here's the latest round-up of one-time chef dinners happening in the coming weeks that we've heard of:

Cellar Supper Club Wine Dinner — Chef Adam Hegsted
The Coeur d'Alene restaurant was purchased more than a year ago by acclaimed local chef Adam Hegsted, and occasionally hosts exclusive wine dinners, including this Friday's event (Jan. 29, at 6 pm) which is limited to only 10 guests. The $125 ticket price (including tax/tip) includes a seven-course dinner, which includes highlights such as foie gras, braised lamb, poached oysters and smoked duck. Each course is paired with wine from Europe or Washington state.

The scene at the Ivory Table's monthly supper club dinner last December. - YOUNG KWAK PHOTO
  • Young Kwak photo
  • The scene at the Ivory Table's monthly supper club dinner last December.

The Ivory Table's Supper Club — Chef Kristen White
This monthly event at the French-inspired cafe on East Sprague features a four-course dinner created by Chef/owner Kristen Ward. (Read more about the dinners in this Inlander feature from December.) Held monthly on the first Friday, February's dinner (Feb. 5, 6 pm) is Spanish-inspired and includes wine pairings selected by Pomum Cellars' winemaker Javier Alfonso. There are only 30 spots available at these dinners, which are $65/person not including wine pairings (an additional $25/person). 

If you can't make it to the Friday night dinner, or if it sells out (which happens each month) there's also a special Valentine's weekend dinner offering five courses served by candlelight, set for Sunday, Feb. 14, at 6 pm. Dinner and wine pairings are the same price as the monthly Supper Club dinner.

Continue reading »

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Friday, January 8, 2016

Mark your calendars for Inlander Restaurant Week 2016

Posted By on Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 1:44 PM


The year has barely started and we're already looking ahead seven weeks for the fourth annual Inlander Restaurant Week, happening this year from February 26 through March 6.

That's a week later than last year, but pretty much all other details about the 10-day culinary showcase of the region remain the same as in previous years.

This year's event has expanded slightly from last year, which saw 97 participating eateries around the region. For 2016, that number has already surpassed 100, and as of this writing hits at 104 — becoming the biggest Restaurant Week ever.

On of this year's big newcomers is Masselow's Steakhouse at Northern Quest Resort & Casino. The restaurant was rebranded this past summer, and its menu underwent some major changes.

Other newcomers — many are restaurants newly opened since last year — to the fourth IRW include: The Blackbird Tavern + Kitchen, Browne's Tavern, Crickets (CdA), Gaslamp (River Park Square), The Gilded Unicorn, Nudo, Table 13 (Davenport Grand) and Timber Gastro Pub (Post Falls).  

Menu prices are still fixed for a three-course meal, at either $19 or $29/person (Yes, you're right, that's $1 more than past years. Obviously, it's still a heck of a deal.)

But we can't tell you yet what's got us drooling on the menus so far because, for one, we haven't seen them ourselves, and they're not being officially released online (at until February 4.

For now, start thinking about what new spots and old favorites in town you're hoping to check out, and clear out a few evenings on your calendar to get out and sample our region's blossoming culinary industry. It's really mind-boggling how much our regional food scene has grown and matured in recent years, and this year already has a lot in store.

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Meet your barista: Alan Roll at The Service Station

Posted By on Sat, Nov 28, 2015 at 10:00 AM

For a traditional Ethiopian coffee experienced in a large café setting, The Service Station in North Spokane is the place to be. With a spacious seating area equipped with tables, bar-style seating and oversized arm chairs, this gathering place is the perfect amount of cozy and business. 

Since 2011, Alan Roll has been a part of the team at The Service Station, moving from serving coffee into his current position as general manager. 

  • Kailee Haong

INLANDER: How did you end up at The Service Station?
ROLL: Good close friends opened up this place, actually. Since then, it's changed hands a couple times, but I'm here because I love The Service Station. I was first hired on in January 2011 and I worked for about a year. [Then] I had a massive brain injury. After recovery, I came back to work for a little bit, then I moved for a year. I came back as a supervisor, and I am actually now the general manager. 

What made you want to get into coffee?
I'll start by saying I've always drank coffee. I think the things that have caught my eye about coffee in the past is the art that can be intertwined along with just a simple cup of coffee. What caught my eye here was the statement about what The Service Station is. The fact that friends owned it, and also I was just waiting tables which I had done for some time, so a nice change of scenery was appropriate, and I couldn't have asked for a better scene right now. 

What's the most rewarding thing about working here?
Oh, the guests. Absolutely, hands down. I have met so many new people, family, friends — I would not be here if it wasn't for the people here. I'm here for the people. I love people, I absolutely love people. I thrive on it. 

Any current coffee trends you've been noticing?
People are actually really getting away from what a genuine cup of coffee is. A cup of coffee is what everybody drinks, but it's so done up now. You're not even really tasting the coffee anymore. Even just a single solo macchiato shot with a dab of cream and a little bit of caramel, that happens maybe once a day. You want a great cup of coffee and you really want to taste what you're drinking— I wish there was more of that. We are falling away from what an actual cup of coffee really is.

Do you have a favorite memory of working here?
I don't know if I have a specific memory. I have so many good ones, there aren't any bad ones. If anything, I would just have to revert back to my guests.

  • Kailee Haong

Have you had any really memorable customers?
Mary. I love Mary. She's a teacher, I want to say at Brentwood. I might be wrong on that, and I don't even know her last name. But I know her drink, I know what bagel she gets. She is definitely hands-down my favorite. She's brought me a plant.

What is your favorite thing to drink here?
Oh, it'd have to be my drink. It has actually gotten outside the counter and people actually come in and order "the Alan." What it is, is a drip coffee with horchata, brown sugar, cinnamon and a splash of almond milk.

What is your favorite food item here?
The chicken panini. 

What are some of your hobbies?
Actually, I do some odd-ball art, I'd have to say. I like to decoupage many things. Just to start, giant canvases. I have some hanging on my wall in my home, like 4-feet-by-5-feet. I have a table top that I've decoupaged. I'm also a complete plant fiend. I even have one of my aloe vera cactuses in here. I love nature, so when the weather is appropriate, hiking, walking — all over the place.

If you could describe the coffee shop in one word, what would it be?

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Top Chef contestant and Spokane native Chad White comes home to open a restaurant

Posted By on Tue, Nov 17, 2015 at 11:54 AM

A screenshot of Native Post & Provision's website.
  • A screenshot of Native Post & Provision's website.

  • Chef Chad White Facebook
  • Chef Chad White

Spokane's food scene is in the midst of a renaissance, with more chef-owned eateries popping up than ever. Ripe for growth, the industry is even drawing top talent from major culinary cities who are eager to get back to their small-town roots. The latest personality to enter the Inland Northwest food scene is San Diego's Chef Chad White — also a contestant on the 13th season of Top Chef, Top Chef: California — who's coming home to Spokane to open a planned eatery called Native Post & Provisions. The Top Chef season White is competing in premieres on Bravo on Dec. 2-3, and will feature 17 chefs from across California.

Eater San Diego reports that upon his return to Spokane, Chef White is planning to open a 40-to-50-seat restaurant featuring a Northwest-centric menu, with most dishes cooked over a wood fire. The projected opening date is spring 2016. It's not yet confirmed where Native Post & Provisions is to be located.

White, an award-winning chef who trained in French and Mediterranean cuisine, has an eclectic, urban food style that's heavily Baja-influenced, but his tagline is "borderless flavor" — he doesn't box himself in to only cooking in region-specific styles.
Though he's coming back home, White said he plans to keep operating two restaurants in the San Diego-Tijuana area: La Justina in Tijuana and Craft Pizza Co. in San Diego. His Comun Taqueria in San Diego will close.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Free and discounted meals offered to area vets this Veterans Day

Posted By and on Tue, Nov 10, 2015 at 2:52 PM

A scene from 2013's Veterans Day ceremony at the Spokane Arena. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • A scene from 2013's Veterans Day ceremony at the Spokane Arena.

To recognize the sacrifices of our region's military veterans, several area restaurants are offering free meals or special discounts to say thanks. Pass the word along, or make reservations now to share the appreciation from all of us for helping keep America the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Old European
7640 N. Division, 467-5987
Free meals for vets offered from 7 am to 2 pm
Menu features: Swedish crepes, Dutch babies, German pancakes

Little Euro
517 N. Pines, 891-7662
Free meals for vets offered from 7 am to 2 pm
Menu features: Stuffed french toast, Danish Aebelskivers, burgers

245 W. Main, 634-5226
Buy-one-get-one free for vets offered from 11 am to 11 pm
Menu features: Myzithra spaghetti, chicken cacciatore, scampi luigi

MacKenzie River Pizza
9225 N. Nevada, 413-1043
25 percent off for vets, offered from 11 am to 9 pm
Menu features: Apple and chicken flatbread, MacKenzie River pizza, Buffalo mack 'n’ cheese

Tomato Street
6220 N. Division, 484-4500
50 percent off for vets, offered from 11 am to 10 pm
Menu features: Sicilian focaccia sandwich, grandma’s lasagna, seafood manicotti

Pizza Pipeline
1403 N. Division, 326-6412
30 percent off for vets on carry-out, from 10 am to 1 pm
Menu features: Fiery fingers chicken pipeliner sub, Thai peanut supreme, Hawaiian luau extreme

Golden Corral

7117 N. Division, 468-1895
Free meals for vets offered from 5 to 9 pm
Menu features: variety of buffet style items

Timber Creek Grill Buffet
9211 E. Montgomery Ave, 892-6390
$5 lunch from 10:30 am to 4pm; $7 dinner from 3:30 pm to close
Menu features: Teri street chicken, seafood salad, clam chowder

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Meet your barista: Evan Lovell at Indaba Coffee

Posted By on Wed, Nov 4, 2015 at 1:31 PM

Tucked in from the downtown corner of Howard and Main is the new-ish, second location of Indaba Coffee. Walking inside, one might mistake it for a hip, underground art gallery, due to the art on the walls and the bar feel. Whether swinging in for a quick cup of joe, or bringing work to sip and stay a while, Indaba's atmosphere fosters a perfect environment for your coffee run.

Barista Evan Lovell has been working at Indaba for about a year now, after working at several other coffee stands and shops in his past. 

  • Kailee Haong

INLANDER: How did you end up at Indaba?

LOVELL: This one in particular, it was just relationships through the coffee community. I've worked at a few others, but they're all fairly tightly-knit, so a friend got a hold of me and was like: "Hey, we need somebody to work here," and I thought, "Alright, cool, I'll do that.'"

Why did you choose to get into coffee?
It actually all started when I first got married. I was working in retail, and I needed another job, and I was working at a coffee stand in the mall up at NorthTown, and I did that for a little bit. I realized how awesome it was, like I'm a very mechanical-minded person, so figuring out the science and everything behind it was really cool. So, from there, building knowledge and using the knowledge I learned in biology and chemistry and stuff like that to apply it and keep doing cool things, making things that people like to drink — it's just fun.

Have you noticed any coffee trends lately?
Transparency, I would say. Like throughout the coffee industry. Just being very transparent with the public about whats going on. There are some roasters who publish all about how much they pay for their coffee when they get it, and how much they're marking it up. With us, our bar is obviously very transparent, and people can see everything that we're doing. That's my favorite part, being able to watch people watch me. They're just entranced by it and it's really cool.

What are some of your hobbies?
I am actually a photographer with my wife on the weekends. We actually went through the photo program at the Falls together. It was some fun stuff. She has a business shooting weddings, and I help her with that. We play with our puppy — normal married life stuff.

  • Kailee Haong

What's the most rewarding thing about working here? 
Meeting people. Having people come in that you would have never met otherwise, especially down here. Having people come in from these office buildings out of some sort of corporate meeting, they come in and you can kind of connect with them over coffee and have that common ground together, where otherwise, more likely than not, I would have never had the opportunity to talk to them. 

Do you see the same people coming in, or do you notice a lot of new people?
I'd say it's pretty 50/50. We get a lot of regulars, but we get a lot of travelers, too. We get a lot of tourists and stuff coming from like Portland or Seattle, which is always kind of cool, they're always super funny. They're always coming in like, "Oh, yeah, they told us to come check this place out, because we'd feel right at home."

Could you share a favorite memory?
I don't think I have just one. I think it's just like every day, just coming in and being able to provide something for somebody and enjoy what I do while providing for my family, I think that's just awesome. It's a cool opportunity to have. 

Have you had any really memorable customers?
I've served Allen Stone before, which was cool. That was a pretty memorable one. Actually, his girlfriend is the artist who put up all the work here, so getting to meet him and see how humble they are — they're pretty memorable. 

Are you a coffee person or a tea person?
Coffee. I love tea. It's hard because coffee is so difficult. Trying to get it to taste the way that you want takes a lot of work, but with tea you can just shoot and hit something, you'll figure it out.

What is your favorite thing to drink?
I love a good, just black, coffee. I'd say specifically a Kenyan coffee. They're very complex and intense.

What is your favorite thing to eat here?
I have a soft spot for the maple walnut scones. Those are very hard to turn down. 

If you could describe this coffee shop in one word, what would it be?

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Friday, October 23, 2015

With Chinese Lantern Festival extension, Deng Chu restaurant also continues

Posted By on Fri, Oct 23, 2015 at 12:42 PM

The Chinese Lantern Festival has been extended now until Nov. 15. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • The Chinese Lantern Festival has been extended now until Nov. 15.

The inaugural Washington State Chinese Lantern Festival has been so successful since it opened in late September that it's being extended through November 15. That's an extra two weeks added to the originally planned five-week run. 

Recently the Inlander reported that festival attendance has greatly surpassed projections, with tens of thousands of visitors from across the region coming to see the handmade, illuminated sculptures from China placed throughout Riverfront Park. 

For the additional weeks, ticket prices ($12-$17) and festival hours are to remain the same. Nightly performances of Chinese dance, acrobatics and music also are to continue on a stage in the park's Lilac Bowl. In honor of Veteran's Day, on Nov. 11 all military veterans can come see the displays at no charge.

A few components of the event, however, will change due to the unforeseen schedule change. Traditional Chinese art displays and artisan vendors won't remain on site, and the menu at the pop-up Chinese restaurant Deng Chu is set to alter.

The final weeks of the five-week tour of Chinese cuisine, created and prepared by renowned Spokane chef Jeremy Hansen, continues this weekend and next. The current menu, offered tonight and tomorrow, highlights the spicy and flavorful food of China's Sichuan region, followed by the light and mild cooking of the Shanghai region. Dinner service for these fixed price menus ($25/person, plus $14 festival admission) and the Chef's Table option ($100/person, limited seating) is offered Thursday through Saturday, from 5-9 pm. Reservations are filling up quickly, and while you can still dine as a walk-in customer, the final two weeks of Deng Chu's "tour of China" dinners should be pretty packed.

Because the festival extension wasn't something Hansen was planning for, the two extra weeks at Deng Chu will not feature these multi-course meals, confirms his wife Kate Hansen, who runs the operational side of the couple's Spokane restaurants.

Instead, the restaurant will be open just on Friday and Saturday during the added weekends of Nov. 6-7 and Nov. 13-14, and for walk-in diners only. The Chef's Table experience also won't continue, but Kate Hansen says there will be more food and price options for customers since the fixed-price menu isn't continuing. Also offered alongside the food is a beverage menu featuring cold and hot non-alcoholic drinks and tea, as well as Townshend Cellars wine, Chinese bottled beer and three cocktails created specially for the event by the Butcher Bar's Cody Winfrey.

As we've said before, if you've been thinking about going to this unprecedented event, don't wait too long because it'll be gone before you realize it.

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